Early screening measure for Autism

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a new simple quiz which identifies potential for developing Autistism as early as 12 months.  The measure is being recommended to pediatricians, and is available to view within the article.


1 Response to “Early screening measure for Autism”

  1. 1 Dr. Adam McCrimmon April 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    The article and related study do identify an important topic – that early identification of children on the autism spectrum is vital for early intervention and eventual outcome. And indeed, accurate diagnosis does not typically occur until 2 or 3. The potential issue that I can see with this new questionnaire relates to the large number of families whose child was flagged, but who did not receive an eventual diagnosis on the spectrum. That is a serious and significant diagnosis (or red flag) to receive, and to have families believe for upwards of two years that their child is autistic, or potentially autistic, is something that makes me uncomfortable. The sensitivity of the measure just seems quite low. As well, if all of these children were flagged, I would imagine the majority of families would seek early intervention services. However, it is unlikely that the intervention system would be able to handle the increased demand, nor would any provincial funding agencies (if they exist in your province) provide financial support for early intervention based on this screening measure. So, families would have to bear the rather expensive financial burden. All of this must be taken into account before widespread use of this measure is considered or adopted.

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